Friday, January 6, 2012

Surviving the Puppy Years - Off Leash Dog Parks

I cannot say enough about off leash dog parks, especially since getting a puppy. Our other dogs have enjoyed going to the local dog park over the years but I've never considered it a lifesaver until now.

If you have a dog park near you or within a short driving distance, I highly encourage you to try it out. It's like an intense workout; it drains energy and is fun all at the same time.

We have been taking our puppy to our local dog park as often as we can, mostly on weekends due to work and time constraints. I can tell you that an hour or so at the park and you'll have a puppy that is too tired to get into trouble. The saying "a tired dog is a good dog" is very true.

The dog park is fun for us too, it's good exercise, we're out in the fresh air and surrounded by dogs. We have even started recognizing the regulars and they us.


All dogs need to be socialized. It's one of the most important things you'll do for your puppy. It's so important for them to meet other dogs of all ages, shapes and sizes. And the bonus is they will also be exposed to all the different dog owners as well.

Play time

Play time is a big part of socialization. Your puppy will be meeting so many different dogs, dogs with different temperaments and tolerances. That is so valuable for your puppy to learn that not all dogs want to play at the same intensity as them or at all.

At times you may see things at the dog park that seem aggressive or unfair but for the most part the dogs are taking care of things the best way they know how, without our interference. That being said you should have control of your dog and be aware and ready to intervene if things do get out of hand. Inevitably there are incidents but they are few and far between.

It's interesting to watch and see how your puppy interacts with different dogs, especially when they first approach each other. Without being leashed with anxious or tense energy from us, they are free to meet each other their own way.

I have seen many dogs not appreciate the approach my puppy sometimes takes. She's a runner and loves to pounce on other dogs. This is cool with many dogs as it usually prompts immediate play but not so cool with others and they let her know it. This is valuable information for her. She lives with two senior dogs and is sometimes just too excited to respect them. But the more she learns at the dog park, the more she will bring those lessons home.

Keep socializing your puppies!

My puppy looking for some dogs!

Two of my dogs enjoying a quiet moment at the park.

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